When I use the above phrase to describe cable news, I really, really mean it. To wit, dday observed the proceedings on MSNBC after the president-elect’s economic speech today:
What’s got me concerned is the gasbag reaction immediately following Obama’s speech. On MSNBC, the first talking head pronounced that this was “the University of Chicago lawyer” Obama, not the soaring rhetoritician of the campaign. Non-Senator Tweety Matthews agreed that economic talk doesn’t look good on TV because it’s not “visual” enough. And Richard Wolffe, trying to sound knowledgeable, cited some of the specifics Obama offered as stimulus projects – moving to electronic medical records, weatherizing federal buildings – and intoned “it’s not going to cost a trillion dollars to get electronic medical records.”
Oh crap. And of course the cable news and BBQ press endorsed the invasion of Iraq for similar reasons: it looked good on television. Too bad they didn’t bother with the policy and implications.
Whoa. I suddenly flashed back to this cable news flightsuit exchange from 2003:
MATTHEWS: I want him to wa–I want to see him debate somebody like John Kerry or Lieberman or somebody wearing that jumpsuit.Mr. DOBBS: Well, it was just–I can’t think of any, any stunt by the White House–and I’ll call it a stunt–that has come close. I mean, this is not only a home run; the ball is still flying out beyond the park.MATTHEWS: Well, you know what, it was like throwing that strike in Yankee Stadium a while back after 9/11. It’s not a stunt if it works and it’s real. And I felt the faces of those guys–I thought most of our guys were looking up like they were looking at Bob Hope and John Wayne combined on that ship.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of this broadside against the USS Abraham Lincoln and its chief visitor last week?LIDDY: Well, I—in the first place, I think it’s envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man [Official Naomi Wolf Spin-Point]. And here comes George Bush. You know, he’s in his flight suit, he’s striding across the deck, and he’s wearing his parachute harness, you know—and I’ve worn those because I parachute—and it makes the best of his manly characteristic. You go run those, run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman’s vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn’t count—they’re all liars. Check that out. I hope the Democrats keep ratting on him and all of this stuff so that they keep showing that tape. [...]MATTHEWS: You know, it’s funny. I shouldn’t talk about ratings. But last night was a riot because…these pictures [of Bush in his flightsuit] were showing last night, and everybody’s tuning in to see these pictures again.